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How to attract birds to your landscape

There’s no better sign of spring than An estimated 80 percent of a

when the songbirds sing. Besides the typical bird’s diet comes from
sound and beauty that birds bring to natural foods. During breeding sea-
the landscape, you practical folks son, most birds favor insects and
should know that birds also are great worms. Otherwise, they rely heav-
for eating many of the “bad” bugs that ily on plant parts— fruits, seeds,
otherwise would eat your plants. flower nectar, vegetable seedlings,
There’s more to attracting birds to nuts, acorns and even pine cones.
your yard than just setting out a bird A great way to attract birds,
feeder or two. An effective then, is to plant a variety of these
“birdscape” has four main components: types of plants. Birds especially
food, water, shelter and a place for bird mommies to appreciate a landscape in which berries, seeds and
nest. other edibles are spread out throughout the whole
A yard that’s mostly wide open lawn has little in- year.
terest for birds. The more you can do to provide To accommodate that need, you might consider
those four bird-friendly features, the more feath- serviceberries and blueberries for late-spring and
ered friends you’ll see. early-summer food; viburnum, dogwood, cotoneaster
Different species of birds have different likes and Oregon grapeholly for late-summer and fall
and needs within those four categories, so the key food, and crabapples, winterberry and hawthorn for
to attracting LOTS of birds is to supply a diverse winter food.
landscape. Also plant a variety of flowers (see back for a
Some birds like berries, others prefer seeds. bird-friendly list) and leave the seed heads on over
Some like to nest in evergreens, others prefer the winter.
dense shrubs or thorned bushes. Some birds like to
hide out in smaller shrubs, others prefer the top of Water needs
a tall tree.
A water garden or pond is a bird’s second best
Diverse doesn’t mean you have to trade in your
friend, besides regular food. If you don’t have that,
neat, well kept landscape for a wild-looking, over-
a water-filled dish or birdbath or two will do. Either
grown jungle. A birdscape can be both good-looking
way, the idea is to provide a regular source of fresh,
to people and attractive to birds.
clean water for drinking and bathing. (Replace bird-
bath water every day or two and scrub it out
Feeders and foods weekly.)
Bird feeders can help supplement bird diets when Keep in mind that birds don’t like deep water. If
natural food supplies are low, particularly in late your pond doesn’t have shallow edges, provide a few
winter and early spring. rough rocks along the perimeter.

Maineville Anderson
726 Stephens Road 6840 Clough Pike
Maineville, OH 45039 Cincinnati, OH 45244
(513) 683-5249 (513) 624-8876

Shelter from predators and weather You’ll also help them out by making sure they have
Birds have lots of enemies that try to eat them a steady supply of nest-building materials, such as
and their eggs. They also have to deal with wind, string, grass, twigs, little strips of paper and even
snow and assorted nasty weather hair.
Dense shrubs and trees such as spruce, yews, ar-
borvitae, hemlocks, hollies and junipers are several What else you can do
bird favorites. Don’t forget a few taller trees for If you don’t have any taller grass nearby (such as
the species that like tree tops. along a pond), consider planting a cluster of orna-
Place your feeders and birdbaths 10 to 20 feet mental grasses for birds that like to nest in grass.
away from shelter plants. Any farther and birds may Some birds also like to nest in wood, brush or rock
be to timid to venture out. Too close and you’ve piles, so if you have an out-of-the-way spot for
given cats a hiding place, too! those, that would be a bonus. If you grow vines such
as trumpet creeper, wild grape or morning glory over
A place to nest the piles, you’ll be even MORE popular with the
Again, variety is the key when providing a place birds.
for bird moms to lay eggs and nurture their young. When choosing plants, try to stick with natives
Robins like sturdy crotches of small trees. Cardi- that birds know and like. They aren’t as fond of
nals are big fans of forsythia and beautybush. Song most exotics.
sparrows like the thorny protection of raspberry Finally, try to cut down on or cut out spraying in-
bushes. And you’ll make bluebirds happy with a nest- secticides. No bugs means no food for a bird. Also,
ing box. sprays may harm birds if they come into contact
The point is, the more of these nesting areas you with the material or if they eat bugs that have in-
provide, the more successful you’ll be at attracting a gested a pesticide.
variety of birds. Following is a list of some of the best plants for
attracting birds to your yard.

If birds could go plant-shopping, this would be their list!

Trees for birds Holly Oregon grapeholly Trumpet creeper
American Elm Juniper Potentilla
Ash Pine Pyracantha Perennials for birds
Dogwood Spruce Raspberry Anise hyssop
Cherry (fruiting) Yew Red osier dogwood Aster
Crabapple Roses (rugosa type) Black-eyed Susan
Hawthorn Shrubs for birds St. John’s wort Boltonia
Magnolia Bayberry Spicebush Butterfly weed
Maple Beautybush Viburnum Coneflower
Oak Blackberry Virginia sweetspire Coralbells (Heuchera)
Redbud Burning bush Winterberry Coreopsis
River Birch Butterfly bush Witch hazel Gaillardia
Serviceberry Carolina allspice Goldenrod
Coralberry Vines for birds Ornamental grasses
Evergreens for birds Cotoneaster Boston ivy Phlox
Arborvitae Elderberry Honeysuckle Salvia
Falsecypress Forsythia Grape Sunflower
Fir Gooseberry Morning glory Strawberries
Hemlock Hydrangea Scarlet runner beans Verbascum
Ninebark Silver lace vine Yarrow